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  • Edición impresa de Marzo 1, 2011

We agree with state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, that our nation’s immigration system is broken. We agree that all people living in Indiana should have the legal right to be here and the documents to prove it. We agree that every employer should pay workers a fair wage, with equal pay for equal work and without exploiting any group. We agree that all people should contribute to the best of their ability to the economic and social well-being of their communities. We recognize that these are some of the reasons people support Senate Bill 590.

Where we disagree is the means by which we reach these ends. We favor comprehensive immigration reform that:

Legally reunites families by clearing the backlog of visa applications (spouses and minor children currently wait six to seven years, adult children and siblings 12 to 28);

Provides legal channels for workers based on realistic labor needs;

Enforces existing labor laws regarding wages, overtime and safety, removing employers’ incentives to hire and exploit undocumented workers;

Requires those who are illegally present to come forward, undergo a criminal background check, and pay a penalty in order to get right with the law;

Allows high school graduates who were brought here as children to pay back the investment in their education by attending college and contributing their skills to our economy;

Focuses border security strategies on real threats to national security and public safety, such as international human, drug and weapon smuggling syndicates; and

Works with countries from whom immigrants are coming to strengthen their economies so that people there can support their families.We believe that steps like these would strengthen the rule of law in Indiana. State and local law officers would be able to concentrate on public safety, with the trust of all residents who might be victims of or witnesses to crime. No one would be subject to “reasonable suspicion” that they are undocumented based simply on their lack of proficiency in English. Our overcrowded prisons would not be further stressed by detaining those suspected of violating federal immigration law. Families would be strengthened and motivated to become fully integrated members of society.This kind of positive change can only happen by action of the United States Congress. We strongly support a resolution by the Indiana General Assembly demanding that our congressional representatives enact immigration reform this year.The Rev. Gilbert C. Washington is president of Transforming Action through Power and Patricia Frazier represents TAP’s Civil Rights for Immigrants Task Force./ SBT

 

 


 

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